God saves the *Jews

An EasyEnglish Bible Version with Notes (1200 word vocabulary) on the Book of Esther

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About the Book of Esther

The Book of Esther is a book in the *Old Testament. The writer wrote it in the *Hebrew language. The Book of Esther belongs to the third part of the *Hebrew *Scriptures (*Old Testament). The three parts are called the *Law, the *Prophets and the Writings.

The books that are in the Writings are Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther. The *Jews read from one of these books during each of the important *Jewish *Feasts. The *Jews read Esther aloud during the *Feast of Purim.

The writer wrote the book after the king of Babylon had sent the *Jews away from their own country. He sent them to Babylon. That happened in the year 600 BC. (BC means the years before Jesus was born.) The book tells us what happened in the time of King Xerxes I, the king of *Persia (country near Babylon). He ruled from 485-465 BC.

We do not know who wrote the book. But the writer may have been alive when these things happened. There are parts of the book that tell us about life at the *palace. So some students think that the writer did not write it many years after that.

Chapter 1

v1 This happened when King Xerxes ruled over 127 parts of the *kingdom of *Persia. He ruled from India to Cush. v2 King Xerxes lived in the capital, the city called Susa. v3 When King Xerxes had ruled for more than 2 years, he gave a big *feast. The *feast was for all the important men who had authority in the *kingdom.

Cush was the *Persian name for a certain country. It included almost all the country that is called Sudan today. It also included some of the country called Ethiopia today. Susa was where the kings of *Persia lived in the winter.

v4 The *feast was for 180 days. King Xerxes wanted to show everyone how rich and powerful he was. v5 When this *feast finished, he gave another *feast. This happened in the *palace gardens. It was for 7 days. This *feast was for everyone who lived in the city called Susa. It was for people who were important. And it was for people who were not important. v6 The gardens had blue and white curtains. People had made the curtains out of *linen. Other curtains were hanging from *columns. The colour of those curtains is called purple. There were beds that people had made out of gold and *silver. And the floor had many valuable stones in it.

Only rich people would have material of blue and white *linen. And only rich people would have purple material.

v7 People drank from gold cups. Each cup was different. The king let everyone have his own *wine. v8 Each man had as much *wine to drink as he wanted. But no man had to drink any *wine if he did not want to. That is what the king had said to all his officers.

v9 Queen Vashti was the king’s wife. She gave a *feast for all the women in the *palace.

v10 On the 7th day, King Xerxes was feeling happy. He told his *eunuchs that they must come to him. Their names were Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carcas. v11 He told them that they must bring Queen Vashti to him. He said that she must wear her *royal crown. King Xerxes wanted to show everyone how beautiful his queen was. v12 The *eunuchs told Queen Vashti what the king had said. But she would not go to him. This made King Xerxes very angry.

v13 The king had men who knew the *law. He always asked them what to do when someone did not obey him. v14 He *trusted these men. Their names were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan. These men always sat next to the king. They had a lot of authority in the *kingdom.

v15 The king asked them, ‘What must I do with Queen Vashti? The *eunuchs told her what I said. But she did not obey me. What is the *law about this?’

v16 In front of the king and all the important men, Memucan (one of the men) replied, ‘The queen has not only done something wrong to you. She has done something wrong to all the important men in your *kingdom. v17 When other wives hear about this, they will not obey their own husbands. All the women in the *kingdom will say, “King Xerxes said that Queen Vashti should come to him. But she would not come.” v18 So now, the wives of the king’s officers will not obey their husbands. This will make their husbands angry.

v19 If it makes the king happy, we suggest this: The king should make a *law. Someone should write this *law with the other laws of Media and *Persia so that nobody can change it. This *law should say that Vashti must not stand in front of you again. Then find a better woman to be queen. v20 When people know the *law, all women will obey their husbands. They will obey them if they are rich or poor.’

v21 The king and his officers liked this idea. And so they did as Memucan said. v22 Men on horses took the *law to all the parts of the *kingdom. The king said that people must write the *law in many languages. They must write it in the languages of all who lived in the *kingdom. The *law said that every man must rule over his children and his wife.

Queen Vashti had not obeyed her husband. So now, other wives in the *kingdom would think that they did not have to obey their own husbands. Other wives would not *respect their husbands. The king sent Queen Vashti away because she would not obey him. She would never see the king again. So King Xerxes made this *law: All married women must obey and *respect their husbands.

Chapter 2

v1 Some time after that happened, King Xerxes was not feeling so angry. He thought about Vashti. And he thought about the *law that he had made.

King Xerxes could not change the *law. Because of this *law he no longer had a queen.

v2 Some of the king’s servants said, ‘We think that the king should ask his servants to look for beautiful young women for him. v3 The king could choose officers from every part of his *kingdom to do this. They will take the women to the *harem at Susa. Hegai, the king’s *eunuch, will help them and he will keep them safe. The young women will receive *beauty treatments. v4 The young woman who makes the king happy will be queen. She will be queen as Vashti was.’ King Xerxes agreed with the servants. And he did everything that the servants said.

v5 In the city called Susa there was a *Jew called Mordecai. Mordecai was the son of Jair. Jair was the son of Shimei. Shimei was the son of Kish. Kish was in Benjamin’s *family.

Mordecai was in Benjamin’s *family. This was one of the 12 *families of Israel. You can read about this in Genesis chapter 35.

v6 Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had sent Kish (with other *Jews) to live away from Jerusalem. That was when Nebuchadnezzar took King Jeconiah of Judah away from Jerusalem. v7 Mordecai had a young cousin called Hadassah. (She was also called Esther.) She lived in his house. Esther’s mother and father were dead. Esther was beautiful. Mordecai called Esther his daughter.

Judah had been part of Israel. It had its own king. Some people had two names. Hadassah was a Hebrew name. Hebrew is the language of the *Jews. Esther was a *Persian name.

v8 Esther was with the young women that the officers brought to the city called Susa. The servants brought them to the *palace. Hegai had authority over all the young women. v9 Hegai liked Esther. He gave her *beauty treatments and special food. He gave her 7 female servants from the king’s *palace. And he moved Esther and her servants to the best part of the *harem.

v10 Mordecai said to Esther, ‘Do not tell anyone that you are a *Jew.’ So Esther did not tell anyone. v11 Mordecai wanted to know what was happening to Esther. So he walked by the *harem many times each day.

v12 Before a young woman went to be with the king she had to have *beauty treatments. These went on for 12 months. v13 Then she went to be with the king. And she could take whatever she wanted with her then.

A young woman could choose what clothes and other things to wear when she went to be with the king.

v14 She would go to be with the king in the evening. She would stay with him during that night. In the morning, she went to the *harem where the king’s other wives lived. Shaashgaz, a *eunuch, kept the women there safe. The young woman would only see the king again if he liked her. If he did like her, he would ask for her by name.

These women did not have any authority in the house. In the king’s *harem, some of these women did not see the king again. They did not have the authority that the queen had.

v15 One evening, it was Esther’s time to go to the king. And she asked for the things that Hegai had suggested. Everyone who saw Esther liked her. v16 Esther went to King Xerxes in the 10th month. That is the month Tebeth. King Xerxes had ruled for nearly 7 years.

There is a list of the *Jewish months at the end of the book.

v17 The king loved Esther more than he loved any of the other women. He was nice to her because he liked her. He put the *crown on her head and he made her queen. So, Esther became queen, as Vashti had been queen. v18 The king gave a great *feast called Esther’s *Feast. All his officers and other important men came to the *feast. He gave everyone in the *kingdom a day to rest. And he gave many gifts to people.

Mordecai saves the king

v19 The officers brought the young women together again. At this time, Mordecai sat at the King’s Gate.

v20 Esther had not told the king that she was a *Jew. Mordecai had told her that she should not tell him. She had obeyed Mordecai when she lived with him as his daughter. And now she still obeyed him like that.

v21 Mordecai was sitting at the King’s Gate. At that time, Bigthana and Teresh, who were two of the king’s officers, became angry. And they wanted to kill the king. v22 Mordecai heard about this. So he told Queen Esther that the officers wanted to kill the king. Queen Esther told the king. She said that Mordecai had discovered this. v23 The king discovered that this was true. He told men that they must kill these officers. They must hang them from *gallows until they were dead. The king watched while his servant wrote these things in the Book of Years.

At this time, Mordecai had authority in the king’s *palace. Mordecai would know if anyone wanted to hurt the king. Esther was in the right place to tell the king. The servant recorded that Mordecai saved the king. God had given authority to Esther and Mordecai.

Chapter 3

Haman becomes angry with Mordecai

v1 Some time after that happened, King Xerxes gave a certain officer a lot of authority. The officer was called Haman. Only King Xerxes had more authority in the *kingdom than Haman. Haman’s father was in Agag’s *family. v2 The king said that everyone must bend his body down to Haman to show *respect. But Mordecai would not bend his body down to Haman.

v3 The officers at the King’s Gate said to Mordecai, ‘You are not obeying the king’s *law and you should obey it.’ v4 They said this to Mordecai every day. But he would not bend his body down to Haman. So the officers told Haman that Mordecai would not bend his body down to him. Mordecai had told them that he was a *Jew. So they wanted to know if Haman would excuse Mordecai.

v5 Haman saw that Mordecai would not bend his body down. So, he was very angry. v6 Haman discovered that Mordecai was a *Jew. Haman did not want to hurt only Mordecai. He decided to kill all the *Jews in the *kingdom of Xerxes.

Mordecai would not bend his body down to Haman because Haman’s father was in Agag’s *family. The father and grandfathers of Agag had been in Amalek’s *family. The *Jews and Amalek’s *family were enemies. In Exodus 17:16 are these words, ‘The Lord (God) will be at war against people in Amalek’s *family from *family to *family’. Haman discovered that Mordecai was a *Jew. So then he wanted to kill all the *Jewish people in the *kingdom. He really did not like the *Jews.

Haman has an idea about how to kill all the *Jews

v7 His men who knew the *law threw a *pur. The *pur chose the 12th month. This was the month called *Adar. They would kill all the *Jews on this day. v8 So Haman said to King Xerxes, ‘There are some people who are living in your *kingdom. And they are different from all the other people who live in your *kingdom. They do not obey the king’s *laws. But they live among all your other people. It is not good for you to let them live in your *kingdom. v9 If it makes the king happy, the king should make a *law to kill all these people. I will pay 10 000 *talents of *silver into the king’s bank. This is for the men who obey your *law.’

v10 The king took his *signet ring from his finger and he gave it to Haman. Haman was the man who really did not like the *Jews. v11 He said to Haman, ‘Keep your money. You can do anything that you want with these people.’

Verse 9 Silver is a valuable metal. People used it as money. 10 000 *talents is a very large amount of money.

Verse 10 Any *law with the mark of the king’s *signet ring on it had the king’s authority.

v12 Haman asked the king’s writers to come to him. This was on the 13th day of the 1st month. The writers wrote the *law in the language of all the people who lived in the *kingdom of Xerxes. Haman used the king’s *signet ring to show that the *law had the king’s authority.

The *law had the king’s authority, but Haman wrote the *law. The people that Haman wanted to kill were *Jews. But king did not know that. And he did not know that Queen Esther was a *Jew.

v13 Men delivered the *law to the people in all of the *kingdom. The *law said that on the 13th day of the 12th month people should kill all the *Jews. They should kill old people and young people, women and children. All *Jews would die. Haman told the people that they could take all the *Jews’ things. v14 Haman caused people to make copies of the *law. They made copies in every language that people in the *kingdom spoke. Everybody should be ready for that day.

v15 King Xerxes told his officers that they must send the *law quickly to all of the *kingdom. Then Haman and the king sat down and they began to *feast together. While they *feasted, everyone in the city (Susa) was afraid.

Chapter 4

Mordecai asks Queen Esther to help the *Jews

v1 Mordecai discovered what had happened. Then he tore his clothes and he dressed in *sackcloth and ashes. He went into the city. He was crying aloud.

v2 He stopped at the King’s Gate. Nobody who had dressed in *sackcloth and ashes could come into the *palace. v3 All through the *kingdom of Xerxes, *Jews were crying aloud and they were *fasting. Many of the *Jews lay on *sackcloth and ashes.

While the *Jews *fasted, they usually prayed to God. Sometimes they *fasted when something bad was going to happen. They *fasted because they wanted to ask God for his help.

v4 Esther’s female servants and *eunuchs told her what Mordecai was doing. So Esther had troubles in her mind. She sent clothes for Mordecai to put on. But Mordecai refused to wear them. v5 Hathach was one of the king’s *eunuchs. Esther asked Hathach to discover what was the matter with Mordecai.

Esther could not leave the *palace because she was one of the king’s wives. Mordecai could not come into the *palace because he was wearing *sackcloth and ashes.

v6 Hathach went to Mordecai. Mordecai was near the King’s Gate. He was waiting outside. v7 Mordecai told Hathach what happened with Haman. King Xerxes had said that people must kill all the *Jews. Mordecai told Hathach about that too. And he told Hathach about the 10 000 *talents of *silver that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s bank.

Verse 7 See note after 3:10.

v8 Mordecai gave Hathach a copy of the king’s *law to give to Esther. He spoke to Hathach. He asked him to tell Esther that she must go to the king. She should ask the king to let her people live.

v9 Hathach returned to the *harem. And he told Esther what Mordecai had said. v10 Esther sent Hathach to tell Mordecai, v11 ‘A person can only see the king if the king asks for him or her by name. Everyone knows that. There is only one *law for anyone who goes to the king. If the king has not asked to see him, that person must die. Only if the king holds out his gold *sceptre will the person live. The king has not asked me to go to him for 30 days.’

Esther is the queen. But even Esther can only go to the king if he asks for her by name. It is dangerous for Esther to go to the king because he has not asked for her.

v12 Then Hathach told Mordecai what Esther had said. v13 Mordecai sent back this answer. ‘Do not think that you, in the king’s *palace, will be safer than all the other *Jews. v14 If you do not speak on behalf of the *Jews at this time, help will come from another place. But you and your *family will die. But perhaps you are queen for a time like this.’

Mordecai is showing *faith in God. God will not let Haman kill the *Jews. Mordecai knows that. 2 Kings 19:31 tells us that. Mordecai is telling Esther that God has put her in the *palace as queen. Because Esther is queen, she can speak to the king. Esther can ask the king to save the *Jews.

v15 Esther sent this answer to Mordecai, v16 ‘Tell all the *Jews in Susa that they should *fast on behalf of me. They must not eat or drink for three days. They must not eat or drink in the day or night for this time. My female servants and I will also *fast. After three days, I will go to the king even when it is against his *law. He has not asked for me. So he may tell his officers that they must kill me. If I die, I die.’

The *Jews were *fasting and praying to God to help Queen Esther. She had to speak to the king. Esther is showing that she has *faith in God. She *trusts God to keep her safe. And she will do what God wants.

v17 Mordecai did as Esther had asked him.

Chapter 5

Esther goes to the king

v1 After three days, Esther put on her special clothes and she went to King Xerxes. The king was sitting on his special king’s seat. Esther stood in the room that was in front of his special seat. v2 When the king saw Esther, he was happy. He held out his gold *sceptre. Esther touched the top of the sceptre.

The king lets Esther live.

v3 The king asked, ‘What do you want, Queen Esther? I will give to you whatever you want. Even if it is half my *kingdom, I will give it to you.’ v4 Esther replied, ‘If it makes the king happy, I would like this: I would like the king and Haman to come to a *feast that I have prepared.’

v5 The king said to his servants, ‘Bring Haman quickly. Then we can do what Esther wants.’ The king and Haman went to the meal that Esther had prepared.

v6 When they were drinking *wine, the king asked Esther, ‘What do you want? I will give you whatever you want. Even if it is half my *kingdom, I will give it to you.’ v7 She replied, ‘This is what I want. v8 I hope that the king is happy with me. And perhaps the king wants to give me what I want. And this is what I want: I would like the king and Haman to come again tomorrow. Come to a *feast that I will prepare for you. Then I will tell the king what I want.’

Mordecai makes Haman angry again

v9 When Haman went from Queen Esther’s *feast he was happy. Mordecai was sitting at the King’s Gate. But when Haman passed him, he did not get up. And he did not bend his body down to Haman. Then Haman became very angry with Mordecai. v10 Haman did not say anything to Mordecai. He went home. Then he asked his friends and Zeresh his wife to come to him.

v11 Haman told them how rich he was. He told his friends how many sons he had. And he told them how powerful he was. He told his friends and his wife that he was more powerful than any other man in the *palace. v12 Haman told his friends and his wife about the *feast that Queen Esther prepared for the king. He said, ‘I was the only other person that the queen asked to come to the meal. The queen has asked me to another *feast tomorrow with the king. v13 But all these things do not make me happy when I see the *Jew Mordecai. He is sitting at the King’s Gate.’

Because Mordecai sat at the King’s Gate he had authority in the *palace. Haman did not like the fact that Mordecai the *Jew had authority in the *palace. And even when Haman was more powerful than Mordecai, Mordecai would not bend his body down to him. So that made Haman angry too.

v14 Haman’s wife and his friends said to him, ‘Ask some men to build a *gallows so high that everybody can see it. In the morning, ask the king to cause his men to kill Mordecai on the *gallows. Then go to Queen Esther’s *feast and be happy.’

What they had suggested made Haman happy. So he told his servants that they must build the *gallows.

Chapter 6

The king remembers Mordecai

v1 That night the king could not sleep. He asked a servant to bring the Book of Years. And he asked the servant to read the book to him.

The Book of Years contained a report of everything that happened in the *kingdom.

v2 The Book of Years included the report of how two officers wanted to kill the king. And how Mordecai had discovered this and he had told Queen Esther. The servant read this report to the king. v3 The king asked his servant, ‘When Mordecai saved me, what did I do for him?’ The servant told the king that Mordecai did not receive anything.

v4 The king said, ‘Who is in the *palace?’ And Haman had just come into the *palace. He wanted to ask the king for his officers to kill Mordecai on the *gallows. v5 The servants told the king that Haman was in the *palace. The king said that Haman should come to him.

v6 Haman came to the king. The king asked him, ‘What should I do for a man that I want to make very important?’ Haman thought to himself, ‘I am sure that I am that man. I am sure that the king wants to make me very important.’ v7 So Haman replied to the king. ‘You should do this for the man that you want to make very important: v8 Your servants should bring the clothes that the king wears. They should bring the king’s horse. It should have a *royal crown on its head. So, everyone will know that it is the king’s horse. v9 Tell your servants that they must give the clothes and the horse to one of your officers. It should be the officer that you *trust most. Ask the officer to put the king’s clothes on the man that you want to make very important. Tell the officer that he must help the man on to the king’s horse. The officer must then lead the man from the beginning to the end of the city. The officer must shout, “This is the man that the king wants to make very important. See what the king does for a man like that!” ’

v10 The king said, ‘Go quickly! Get the clothes and the horse. Do as you have suggested for Mordecai the *Jew. He is sitting at the King’s Gate. Be sure to do everything that you suggested.’ v11 So Haman dressed Mordecai in the king’s clothes. And he led Mordecai on the king’s horse from the beginning to the end of the city. Haman shouted, ‘This is the man that the king wants to make very important. See what the king does for a man like that!’

v12 After this, Mordecai returned to the King’s Gate. But Haman hurried home. He covered his face because he was ashamed and angry. He was ashamed and angry about what had happened. v13 He told his wife and friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wife, Zeresh, and his friends who knew the *law said, ‘You have already lost some of your power to Mordecai. If he is a *Jew, you cannot fight against him. You cannot win against him.’

v14 While they were speaking, the king’s *eunuchs arrived. They took Haman in a hurry to Queen Esther’s *feast.

Chapter 7

Haman goes to Queen Esther’s *feast

v1 King Xerxes and Haman went to the *feast that Queen Esther had prepared. v2 While they were drinking *wine at this second *feast, King Xerxes asked his question again. ‘Queen Esther’, he asked, ‘what do you want? Even if you want half the *kingdom, I will give it to you.’

v3 Queen Esther replied, ‘I hope that you are happy with me. And perhaps you want to give me what I ask. If you do, please let me live. And let my people live. That is what I want. v4 Someone has sold me and my people so that we will die. If he had sold us as male and female slaves, I would not have caused trouble for the king.’ v5 Then King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, ‘Who is he? Where is the man who would do this?’ v6 Esther replied, ‘The man who wants to kill us is this very bad man Haman!’ Then Haman was very afraid.

Haman now knows that Queen Esther is a *Jew. He knows that the king will be very angry. He will be very angry because of the *law that Haman wrote.

v7 The king was very angry. He left his *wine and he went into the *palace garden. Haman knew that the king would kill him. So, he stayed with Queen Esther to ask her to save him. v8 Just when the king returned, Haman threw himself down. He threw himself down on the bed that Queen Esther was lying on. He asked her to save him. The king shouted, ‘You even attack the queen when she is with me in the *palace!’ When the king said this, servants covered Haman’s face with a piece of cloth.

That meant that Haman would die.

v9 Harbona, one of the king’s *eunuchs said, ‘There is a *gallows outside Haman’s home. Haman’s men built it. He wanted to kill Mordecai on the *gallows. Two officers wanted to kill the king. Mordecai is the man who told the king about it.’ The king said, ‘Hang Haman on the *gallows until he is dead.’ v10 So a servant hung Haman on the *gallows until he was dead. It was the *gallows that Haman’s servants had built for Mordecai. Then the king did not feel so angry.

Chapter 8

The king makes another *law

v1 That day, King Xerxes gave Queen Esther all of Haman’s things. Mordecai came in front of the king. Esther had told the king that Mordecai was her cousin. v2 The king had taken back his *signet ring from Haman. He gave the *signet ring to Mordecai. Esther gave Mordecai authority over all the things that the king gave to her.

They were the things that had been Haman’s.

v3 Then Esther went to the king. She cried aloud and she threw herself down at his feet. She asked him to stop Haman’s very bad idea to kill all the *Jews. v4 The king held out his gold *sceptre to Esther. Then she stood up in front of the king.

v5 Esther said to the king, ‘I hope that I make the king happy. And perhaps the king thinks that this is the right thing to do: If he does, the king should do this. Tell your people that they must not kill all the *Jews on the 13th day of the 12th month. v6 If they do kill them, I will have to see the death of all my people.’

v7 King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai, ‘Because Haman wanted to kill the *Jews, I have given all of his things to Esther. And my officers have killed Haman on the *gallows. v8 Write another *law with the king’s authority. Write a *law to help the *Jews. My *signet ring shows that the *law has the king’s authority. There can be no change to a *law that has the king’s authority.’

v9 On the 23rd day of the 3rd month (the month Sivan), Mordecai asked certain men to come to him. They were the men who recorded the *law. Mordecai the *Jew told them what to write. Men who were riding on horses took the *law to all the *kingdom. Mordecai asked people to copy the *law into every language that people spoke in the *kingdom. So everyone would know what the new *law said. v10 The *law that Mordecai wrote had the king’s authority. It had the mark of the king’s *signet ring. Men who were riding on fast horses took the *law all through the *kingdom.

v11 The king’s *law said this: Every *Jew in every city could fight against any person who attacked them. This included the women and children of any man who attacked them. The *Jews could take the things of anyone that they killed. v12 The *law said that the *Jews could do this for one day. This day was the 13th day of the 12th month. That was the month called *Adar.

That was the day that Haman had wanted to kill all the *Jews.

v13 A copy of the *law reached all the *kingdom. Everybody knew the *law. The *Jews prepared for that day. They would kill all the people who wanted to kill them on that day. v14 The king told his officers that they must travel quickly on their horses. The king’s officers also told everybody about the *law in the city (Susa).

v15 Then Mordecai went from the king’s *palace. He was wearing beautiful blue and white clothes. He had a large *crown of gold on his head and he was wearing special clothes. The colour of the clothes was purple and somebody had made them out of *linen. The people in Susa were very happy.

Mordecai does not wear *sackcloth and ashes because God has answered the *Jews’ *prayers. God has saved the *Jews. Only rich and powerful people wore purple clothes. They wore them over other clothes. They used *linen to make clothes for rich and powerful people.

v16 The *Jews were very happy and everyone *respected them. v17 In all the *kingdom, the *Jews had *feasts and they were very happy. Many people became *Jews because of what happened.

Chapter 9

The *Jews kill the people who wanted to kill them

v1 It was the 13th day of the 12th month, the month called *Adar. Everyone who really did not like the *Jews had hoped to kill them. But because of the king’s new *law, the *Jews could fight to keep themselves safe. v2 The *Jews came together in their *provinces and cities to fight against the people who wanted to kill them. Nobody could fight against them. Everyone was afraid of them.

v3 Also, all the officers in the *kingdom helped the *Jews because they were afraid of Mordecai. v4 Everyone knew that Mordecai had great authority in the *palace. And he became more and more powerful. v5 So the *Jews could do what they wanted with their *enemies. They could kill them.

v6 In the city (Susa), the *Jews killed 500 men. v7 They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, v8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, v9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha. v10 Those men were the 10 sons of Haman, who wanted to kill the *Jews. But the *Jews did not take any of the things of the people that they killed.

v11 Officers told the king how many people the *Jews killed in the city (Susa). v12 Then the king said to Queen Esther, ‘In the city (Susa) the *Jews have killed 500 men and the 10 sons of Haman. So I think that they have killed very many of their *enemies in the whole *kingdom! Now, what do you want? I will do anything that you want.’

v13 Esther replied, ‘If it makes the king happy, please let the *Jews in Susa do the same tomorrow. Also, please hang the dead bodies of Haman’s sons from the *gallows.’

v14 The king said that this should happen. He made another *law in Susa so that the *Jews could fight for themselves again. And the king’s officers hung the dead bodies of Haman’s 10 sons on the *gallows. Everyone could see them.

v15 On the 14th day of the month called *Adar the *Jews killed 300 men in Susa. But they did not take the things of the people that they killed. v16 In the *provinces, the *Jews killed 75 000 of their *enemies. The *Jews killed all the people who wanted to kill them. But they did not take the things of the people that they killed.

v17 They did that on the 13th day of *Adar. Then, on the 14th day, the *Jews in the *provinces rested. They had *feasts and they were very happy. v18 But the *Jews in Susa killed their *enemies on the 13th day and on the 14th day of *Adar. On the 15th day they rested. They had *feasts and they were very happy on that day. v19 So *Jews who live in the *provinces have a holiday and a *feast on the 14th day of *Adar. And they are very happy and they give gifts to each other on that date.

v20 Mordecai recorded what had happened. He sent letters to all the *Jews who were living in the *kingdom of Xerxes. v21-22 He told them that they should have a *feast and a holiday on the 14th and 15th days of *Adar. He told the *Jews that they must do that every year. That was because on those dates they had killed all their *enemies. In the month *Adar, those who were sad became happy. Mordecai told the *Jews that they must remember those days. He told them that they should give gifts and special food to each other. And he told them that they should give those things to poor people too.

v23 So the *Jews did everything that Mordecai had said. And they had a *feast every year to remember what had happened. v24 They remembered how Haman from Agag’s *family, the *enemy of all the *Jews, had wanted to kill them. They remembered that he threw *pur. He threw it to choose the day when he would kill them. v25 They remembered how Esther went to the king. And they remembered that the king wrote another *law. The *Jews remembered that the king did not kill the *Jews. And they remembered that the king did kill Haman. And they remembered that the *Jews killed Haman’s sons. They remembered how the dead bodies of Haman and his sons hung on the *gallows.

v26 So the *Jews called the *feast Purim. They did all this because of what was in Mordecai’s letter. And it was because of everything that they had seen. And it was because of everything that had happened to them.

Purim is the plural word of *pur which Haman threw to choose the day to kill the *Jews.

v27 The *Jews made a rule. The rule was for themselves and for *Jews who were born after them. And it was for anyone who became a *Jew. The rule was that everyone must have a *feast on the 14th and 15th days of *Adar every year. This is what Mordecai had said to them. v28 Every *Jew and every *Jew who was born after that time everywhere must remember the *Feast of Purim.

Even today, *Jews have a *feast every year to remember everything that happened.

v29 Then Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai wrote a second letter. In this letter they gave their authority to the *Feast of Purim. v30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the *Jews who were living in the 127 *provinces of the *kingdom of Xerxes. The message told them that all the *Jews were safe. v31 But it also told the *Jews that they should remember the *Feast of Purim. And they should remember the times when they *fasted. They had asked God for help at those times.

v32 Queen Esther made this *law for all the *Jews. The men who wrote down the *law recorded it. They recorded that the *Jews should remember the *Feast of Purim.

Chapter 10

v1 King Xerxes caused everyone to pay *tribute. Those who lived on the land had to pay *tribute. And those who lived on the islands in the sea had to pay *tribute too.

v2 The Book of Years of the kings of Media and *Persia records all the great and powerful things that the king did. And the book records how Mordecai became powerful. v3 King Xerxes gave very much authority to Mordecai and so Mordecai became very powerful. Only the king had more authority than Mordecai. Many *Jews knew that Mordecai was a great man. And Mordecai always did what was right for the *Jews.

God is working all through the Book of Esther. The book shows us that:

·    God listens to *prayers. He saved the *Jews from death.

·    God is more powerful than any person is.

·    He loves his people and he keeps them safe.

·    God has a purpose for his people. The verse that shows us this is 4:14. It says,

‘If you do not speak on behalf of the *Jews at this time, help will come from another place. But you and your *family will die. But perhaps you are queen for a time like this.’

Jesus was born a *Jew. If God had let Haman kill the *Jews, Jesus could not have been born. But men cannot stop what God wants to do for his people.

Word List

Adar ~ the name of a *Jewish month.

beauty treatments ~ oils that they used to make a person’s body beautiful.

column ~ a tall, round bit of stone.

crown ~ something that kings and queens wear on their head.

enemy ~ person that wants to hurt or to attack you.

eunuch ~ male servant who worked in the *palace.

faith ~ to believe in someone or something; to agree with and to do the things that God teaches; when we obey God even when it is difficult or dangerous.

family ~ family included father, mother and children; also grandfathers and those who had been born before them.

fast ~ not to eat for an amount of time.

feast ~ to eat and to drink good things; or, a time to eat and to drink good things. It sometimes continued for hours, days, weeks or months.

Feast of Purim ~ see Esther 9:23-26.

gallows ~ high beams that people made from wood. They hung people on them until they were dead. Or they killed them and then they hung their dead bodies on the gallows.

harem ~ the part of the *palace where the king’s wives lived.

Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke.

Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything that is a *Jew’s.

kingdom ~ a place or a country that a king rules.

law ~ the rules that God or rulers make.

linen ~ material that is like cotton; only rich people would have it.

Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible; the things that the writers wrote before Christ’s birth.

palace ~ a very large house; it is where the king lives.

Persia ~ the country that is called Iran today.

Persian ~ the language that people in *Persia spoke.

prayers ~ the words that we say when we talk to God.

prophet ~ a person that spoke God’s words. Some prophets wrote books in the Bible.

provinces ~ the parts of the *kingdom of Xerxes that were not in the city called Susa. Everyone who lived outside the city lived in the *provinces.

pur ~ people used it to choose a date; the pur could have chosen any date.

respect ~ when someone wants to do right things for another person. That person is important to him or her. This is because that person is special (for example, a father); or that person has authority (for example, a king).

royal crown ~ something that kings and queens wear on their head.

sackcloth ~ sackcloth is a material. It is dark in colour and people made it out of goats’ hair. *Jews would wear *sackcloth and ashes when they were very sad. For example, when someone died, the *Jews would put on *sackcloth. And they would put ashes over their head. Other people would know that the person with the *sackcloth and ashes was very sad.

sceptre ~ a stick that a king or a queen holds.

Scriptures ~ the book of God’s words.

signet ring ~ a valuable stone with a mark on it; you put it on a ring and you wear the ring on your finger.

silver ~ a white metal; it shines and it is very valuable.

talent ~ about 34 kilos (75 pounds).

tribute ~ the king said that people must do work for him; or perhaps the king said that people must pay money to the government. That showed how powerful the king was.

trust ~ believe that someone will be good to you.

wine ~ a drink that has alcohol in it; people make it from small, sweet fruit called grapes.

*Jewish months of the year

*Jewish Months ~ Modern Months

Nisan ~ March/April

Iyyar ~ April/May

Sivan ~ May/June

Tammuz ~ June/July

Ab ~ July/August

Elul ~ August/September

Tishri ~ September/October

Marchesvan ~ October/ November

Kislev ~ November/December

Tebeth ~ December/January

Shebat ~ January/February

Adar ~ February/March

Book List

R L Omansn and P A Noss ~ A Handbook on The Book of Esther ~ UBS

M Henry ~ Commentary on the Whole Bible ~ Marshall Pickering

Bibles ~ RSV, NIV, NKJV

 

©1997-2008, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

August 2008

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